Photo: DreamPlay Films

As we near the end of yet another year like no other, State of the Arts wants to wish everyone the best for 2022. We’d also like to acknowledge how amazing the arts community has been in the past year, as people everywhere have struggled to adapt and create during rapidly changing times. Here’s a quick list of just a few of the people and places we covered in 2021.


Dorthaan Kirk


In December, we profiled Newark’s First Lady of Jazz, Dorthaan Kirk. The widow of jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Dorthaan was one of the founding members of WBGO and a recipient of a NEA Jazz Masters award.



On our new episode in November, State of the Arts met ballet superstar and motorcycle aficionado Ethan Stiefel in his first days as artistic director of American Repertory Ballet.



During October, three State of the Arts features, including Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest, were included in the Princeton Environmental Film Festival.



In September, the State of the Arts documentary Kea’s Ark won an Emmy—and it will soon be seen on PBS stations throughout the country! (Photo by Ted Degener)



ALEA took over Two River Theater’s outdoor stage with their unique blend of Latin music in August. (Photo by Sarah K. Craig)



We celebrated pianist Min Kwon’s “America/Beautiful” project, where she premiered variations on “America the Beautiful” by over 70 different composers for the 4th of July. (Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco)



In June, we went on location to Camden to large-scale public artworks with environmental themes on sites previously used for illegal dumping. (Pictured: Mechan 11 by Tyler FuQua)



Our new episode in May featured Seven Choreographers, all NJSCA fellowship winners. The program begins with new work by Nai-Ni Chen, who died earlier this month in a tragic accident.



In April we covered artists who were creating through Covid—including the NJ Symphony as they created a new film with composers including Daniel Bernard Roumain. (Photo by DreamPlay Films)



W. Carl Burger: A Painter’s Life, a documentary about the much-loved New Jersey artist, aired in March. Shot in the summer and fall of 2020, it was our first venture into the field during Covid.



As we do throughout the year, in February we featured stories from the State of the Arts Archives—including a profile of sculptor Mel Edwards, our documentary Bonaparte’s Retreat, a remembrance of jazz pianist Chick Corea (pictured), and a look back at Laiona Michelle’s portrayal of Nina Simone on her birthday.



We began the year in January with an all-jazz episode: violinist Regina Carter, saxophonist Oliver Lake, pianist and composer Stanley Cowell (pictured), and an all-star jazz tribute to the writer Ralph Ellison at NJPAC.


Thanks for being a part of State of the Arts in 2021, and we look forward to a New Year going on location with the most creative people in New Jersey and beyond!